Thursday, May 10, 2018

Viva Greg Smith

Baseball reminds me of Greg Smith. In the 1990s, Greg created a cripple-themed, syndicated radio talk show called On a Roll. At its peak it was aired on 70 radio stations across the U.S.

In the early 2000s, I was his producer. We brainstormed about show topics and guests. Sometimes we went on the air together. It was big fun.

Greg was an enormous Chicago Cubs fan, even more so than me. One day we were talking about the hundreds of hours we’ve spent throughout our lives watching baseball on television. And Greg says, “When they show shots of the crowd, have you ever seen anybody in a wheelchair?” I didn’t have to think about that for long. The answer was no.

That was a keen observation on Greg’s part. I’m sure there are cripples at every major league ballgame. There have been others besides me at every game I’ve ever attended. So why did we never see them on television? The only explanation was that whoever decides which crowd shots make it on the air was consciously avoiding showing any cripples. What else could it be? I don’t think there was a memo from the baseball commissioner’s office stating, “Under no circumstances are you to show any cripples in your crowd shots.” No, it was more likely that there was a subconscious consensus among broadcasters that aesthetically-pleasing shots of fans having fun at the ballpark don’t include any cripples.

Greg wrote, “My parents have shared with me their reflection on a day when televisions were ‘black & white,’ but that phrase didn’t represent the people ‘inside’ the box. When the first black people came on television, it was a big deal!

“Families rushed to gather around the tiny, blurry picture in festive mode. It was a great thrill for them to see people who looked like them represented for the nation to see. Television became a major catalyst that paved the way to the explosion of African American culture’s current status as a vital part of pop culture.

“In order for people with disabilities to develop the social confidence to reach our full potential and put our spin on pop culture, we need to be seen on television. That’s a prerequisite first step.

“Are we not shown on TV because we’re too repulsive? Ugly? Deformed? Misshapen? Depressing to non-disabled viewers? Would we make people grab their remotes and turn the station?”

So Greg started an initiative called ADA Fan Cam. He asked crippled baseball fans to send him pictures of themselves at major league baseball games so he could use that to
pressure the brass at MLB headquarters to show crippled fans in the stands at games on July 26, 2015 and to have all broadcasters acknowledge that day as the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The good news is MLB acquiesced and on that day people watching games on television all over the country saw crippled fans in crowd shots and heard announcers honor the ADA.

Greg said, “This is a huge step. Now maybe it will be normal to see a fan with a disability once in a while during a ballgame.”

But the real bad news is that Greg died the following June, just a few months before the Cubs won the damn World Series! MLB broadcasts did not show crippled fans or commemorate the ADA on the next ADA anniversary day. And I’ve watched a lot of baseball games since then and haven’t seen a cripple in a crowd shot. Apparently the 2015 ADA celebration was all just tokenism.

So I guess in order to honor my buddy Greg’s legacy by being seen on television at a ballgame, I’m going to have to run out on the field naked. (Maybe I’ll wear the cap of the home team.) That seems like the only way to get the camera crews to stop ignoring me.

It won’t be easy. Any uncrippled mope only has to jump over the wall if they want to run out on the field. I can’t do that. So I’ll have to pretend like it’s a make-a-wish thing—my greatest fantasy is to circle the bases during the 7th inning stretch.

That way, security will escort me onto the field. I’ll need an accomplice—somebody to whip my clothes off me quick once I’m on the field. That person will probably be promptly arrested. Police often do that when I’m out protesting with other cripples. Instead of arresting us, they grab the closest vert (which is short for vertical, which is cripple slang for people who walk.)

But it’s all for a great cause. With his ADA Fan Cam Campaign, Greg got a lot of people thinking about cripples and who we are, even if just for a minute or two. Now it’s time to take it to a new level.



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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Desegregate the Special Olympics

I looked in a thesaurus in search of antonyms for the word special. The most humorous ones I found are humdrum, mediocre, ordinary, run of the mill, no great shakes, undistinctive, everyday, unexceptional and routine.

I did this because this year is the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics. Thus, I’m looking for a contrasting word to describe those other Olympics that come around every four years. Should I call them the humdrum Olympics? That’s funny but not accurate. It implies that those Olympics are boring compared to the Special Olympics. How about the mediocre Olympics? Inaccurate again. It suggests that those other Olympics are athletically inferior. That’s the problem with the word special when applied to cripples. Suddenly it takes on the opposite meaning. It becomes kind of an insult.

I guess I’ll call them the regular Olympics, for lack of a better word. It’s been a nice run for the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics has created a higher level of understanding, many people say. Maybe so, but now it’s time to create an even higher level of understanding by merging the Special Olympics with the regular Olympics.

Every regular Olympic competition ought to be required to include a Special Olympian. And I don’t mean Special Olympians wrestling each other. No way! I mean regular wrestling Special, mano a mano. And none of this condescending shit either, where the regular wrestler puts on a big heroic act and lets the Special guy pin him. I’m talking about full-out, testosterone-fueled, genuine wrestling. And if the Special guy gets thrown into the audience, well then we’ve created a higher level of understanding. That’s what it takes sometimes. Creating higher levels of understanding ain't easy. And if the regular guy gets thrown into the audience, even better!

Or we could require the regulars to engage the Specials on the Specials’ terms. Like let’s make all the basketball players get in wheelchairs. Then watch all those leaping superstar regulars like LeBron bumble all over the place while the real cripples zip around and make them dizzy. Who’s so fucking special now?

Or it could be a cooperative thing where a regular and a Special team up for the common good. Like luge could be done the same way some people do skydiving, where someone who has never jumped out of a plane is tied to a pro skydiver. The pro skydiver pulls the ripcord and does all the work and all the other person has to do is try not to shit their pants. Similarly, a Special Olympian can be tied to a regular Olympian on a luge and they can hurdle through the snowy channel together as one.

My point is there are a lot of ways to merge the Special Olympics and regular Olympics so let’s get on with it. Hey, this is 20-fucking-18! There’s no excuse for segregation.





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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Evil Spirits


If you see a single-family home that was built to be accessible for a wheelchair cripple, you know that either a) someone who lives there is a wheelchair cripple or b) someone who is important to someone who lives there is a wheelchair cripple.

I suppose it’s also slightly possible that whoever lives there is neither a wheelchair cripple nor gives a particular crap about anyone who is but they bought the house anyway because it was super cheap. And the reason it was super cheap is because it was built to be accessible for a wheelchair cripple. Making a house accessible for a wheelchair cripple lowers the value of that house and all the other houses around it, or at least that’s what a lot of people seem to think.

You'd think it would be the other way around. You'd think being wheelchair cripple accessible would be as much of a selling point for a house as an outdoor patio. When my Aunt Gerry bought a condo, she bought one that my sister and I could get into with our wheelchairs. And it turned out to be a damn good thing that she did because she ended up needing a wheelchair to get around eventually. The one thing she wanted more than anything else was to stay out of a fucking nursing home and she did. But if her condo hadn’t been wheelchair cripple accessible, she would’ve been screwed.

You’d think everybody would want to do sensible shit like that. Build houses where wheelchair cripple access is a standard feature, just in case. Why not? What does it hurt? But most people seem to think that when building or buying a house, the more wheelchair cripple inaccessible it is the better.

I think what’s going on here is an evil spirits type of thing. Sometimes people put grotesques or gargoyles or voodoo-looking scarecrow thingies on or around their houses to scare away evil spirits. It seems like a lot of people think that making wheelchair cripples feel unwelcome will make crippledness itself feel unwelcome and thus dissuade it from invading the household. I’m surprised they don't put tire-shredding spikes by the front door, as an extra line of defense.

But then, in spite of all that effort, someone in the household becomes crippled anyway and then they’re screwed. Because you can’t scare crippledness away. But you can outsmart it.





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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Mightiest



Back when I was a criplet attending cripple summer camp, there was an adult woman also attending summer camp who was so crippled that they rolled her around on a gurney. She was so crippled she couldn’t even sit up

I admit she freaked me out, even though she didn’t have fangs or anything. She seemed like a normal woman, except she rolled around on a gurney. She freaked me out because she was so crippled. I was glad I wasn’t that crippled.

But now there are days when I really wish I was that crippled. Those are the days when I’m protesting. On those days, if I was so crippled that I rolled around on a gurney, I’d feel so powerful.

Yep, if that was me I’d be marching through the streets with my gurney all done up like a float. And hanging on both sides of my gurney I'd have big banners saying stuff like FUCK REPUBLICANS.

And I'd be sure to always carry along a couple sets of shackles so that the people pushing my gurney could shackle me to the White House fence. That ought to make a few headlines, especially if I got arrested. Or my pushers could shackle me to the desk of some fascist lawmaker. Because there’s nothing every lawmaker dreads more than their secretary calling them and saying, “I’m sorry to bother you but there’s a man so crippled that he rolls around on a gurney shackled to your desk.”

And when I wasn’t protesting in the streets, I’d be trying to organize other people so crippled that they roll around on gurneys to come protest with me. Because the only thing that scares the shit out of a lawmaker more than the sight of a guy so crippled he rolls around on a gurney coming their way is the sight of a flotilla of people so crippled they roll around on gurneys coming their way.

When I protest, I’m very tempted fake like I’m so crippled I roll around on a gurney. I’d do it up big time, with a fake IV and all. But no doubt some right wing news outfit, threatened by my awesome power, will expose me as a fake. And that will be used to discredit all those who are legitimately so crippled they roll around on gurneys.

So for now I just have to accept the fact that I’m not yet so crippled I roll around on a gurney. I’ll just be patient and let nature take its course and maybe someday I’ll be that powerful.




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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Crippled Fools Throughout the Centuries




If I wasn’t crippled, I don’t know if I would be a smart ass. Probably not. I think the two go hand in hand.

It’s the result of thousands of years of cripple evolution. It’s natural selection. I believe that the cripples that have survived the best throughout time are the ones that have the fool gene

Because there have always been cripples like me. They didn’t just invent us in the 20th Century. I imagine that cripples way way back in the days of yore had a pretty rough time of it. No wheelchairs, no nothing. How would a cripple like me survive? I bet the only ones who had a fighting chance were the ones that played the fool.

They probably smothered cripples like me way back when or left us for dead. I mean, they still do that today in some places. But somewhere along the line, some cripple, in a desperate, last-ditch effort to stay alive, probably made a goofy face or gimped it up real good or told a fart joke and everybody laughed. And everybody realized that maybe this particular cripple might have a little bit of worth after all. Maybe we should keep this one around for a little while. Everybody needs a good laugh, eh?

Yeah, I imagine that for many centuries, fool was about the only job option open to cripples, except for beggar. But begging is a dead end job. There’s no upward mobility. Being a fool, on the other hand, could be a path to true economic freedom. A particularly gifted crippled fool might maybe even rise to level of court jester. And then he’d get to live in the castle, summoned only when the king has a craving for shtick. Being crippled might even be considered a selling point when applying for the job of court jester. The king could brag to the other kings that his fool is no ordinary fool. His fool has a gimmick.

Back in those days, playing the fool was a very high stakes job. If your material fell flat and you were fired, you were back to being just another worthless cripple. For me today, being able to play the fool is a bonus, more or less. It still comes in handy. Like for instance, sometimes I have to hire a new person to join my pit crew, which is the team of people who assist me in my home. It’s not the greatest job, but it’s not the worst job either. Ass wiping and crotch washing are essential job duties. But I tell people it’s got to be better than the working at the 7-11 downstairs. It pays a little more and you don’t have to put up with corporate bullshit.

I find that one of the main things that makes people decide to join my pit crew and stick around is that I can tell a decent fart joke. It gives me an edge on the competition.

That why whenever I post a want ad for a pit crew member, in order to find people on the right wavelength, I always say that applicants must “have an appreciation for fart jokes.”




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Monday, April 2, 2018

Yet Another Ask Smart Ass Cripple

Dear Smart Ass Cripple,
I must take vehement exception to one of your entries, in which you referred to our current American president as an “anal wart.” How dare you! This characterization is unfair, inaccurate and ill-informed. On behalf of all decent Americans, I demand a retraction!
Yours in fury,
The Spokesman for all Decent Americans


Dear Spokesman,
Your letter caused me to engage in a great deal of reflection, which brought me to the sobering realization that I did indeed call our chief executive an anal wart without having a full understanding of what an anal wart is. So you are correct in asserting that I was ill-informed.

After studying up on anal warts on the internet, I’ve learned that there are some striking similarities between anal warts and the president. For instance, one site described anal warts as “cauliflower-like” in appearance. And there is something vaguely cauliflower-like about our president.

And, much like our president, anal warts are irritating and unsightly and embarrassing and a pain in the ass. But there is a significant difference. For the most part, anal warts aren’t lethal. Sometimes they develop into cancer, but not as a rule. Our president, on the other hand, is a cultural cancer that is 100 percent lethal. Unless excised as soon as possible, we’re all doomed.

So I hereby offer this retraction. I should not have referred to POTUS 45 as an anal wart. It was unfair, inaccurate and ill-informed. I should have called him a malignant anal wart.


Dear Smart Ass Cripple,
Do you consider yourself to be an artist? If so, when did you feel you could call yourself that?
Sincerely,
Art N. Kraft


Dear Art,
I definitely do call myself an artist. I knew I was an artist ever since I was an adolescent living at a state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT).

I participated in an art contest. The creation of my masterpiece began when I rolled a paper drinking straw in a pool of Elmer's glue. Then I rolled the straw in red glitter and glued the glittery straw to a piece of green paper. And finally, I squirted streaks of Elmer's all over the green paper and sprinkled them over with more glitter.

I didn't give my sparkling abstract a title as I recall. I should have called it Nude on the Beach or Self Portrait. But it was displayed along with the work of all the other contestants on the windows of the nurse’s station and I won the grand prize, which was a whiffle football and kicking tee.

This is why I feel justified in calling myself an artist, though I no longer have the whiffle football to prove it.


Dear Smart Ass Cripple,
I’m sure you’ve heard the old admonition that masturbation will make you go blind. Is this true or is it just a wives tale? I figured you’d know.
Yours truly,
A Worried Catholic


Dear Worried Catholic,
All I can say is I’ve known many blind people in my life and every last one of them masturbated at some point. I’ve never asked any of them if they’ve ever masturbated. I just assume they all have and probably still do, seeing as they’re all human beings.





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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Kiss Me I'm Crippled

Every year there’s a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago. All the douche bag politicians put on a green tie and march in the parade, especially if they’re campaigning.

After the parade, there are swarms of drunken people downtown wearing green plastic derbies and fake Irish stuff like that. They drink in the bars until the wee hours.

I guess the closest cripple holiday equivalent to St. Patrick’s Day would be ADA Day. That’s July 26, which is the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. ADA Day is similar to St. Patrick’s Day in a few ways. The douche bag politicians all glom on, but they do it by issuing phony proclamations about how wonderful the ADA is. In Chicago, there’s a parade on or around ADA Day. But it’s much smaller than the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

But you don’t see swarms of drunks on the streets on ADA day. The bars aren’t packed with revelers. Nobody uses ADA Day as a good excuse to get drunk. Well, maybe some people do. I know I do, but I use Wednesday as a good excuse to get drunk.

My fourth grade teacher used to say, “Everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.” But ADA Day hasn’t gotten to the point where everyone declares themselves an honorary cripple for the day. The party stores don’t stock up with cripple-themed stuff. The people who wear green plastic derbies don’t hop into rented wheelchairs on ADA Day or meander around downtown wearing dark sunglasses and tapping a white cane. On ADA Day, they don’t wear buttons that say Kiss Me I’m Crippled.

I don’t know whether that’s good or bad. A part of me feels slighted that there isn’t the same level of appropriation of cripple culture on ADA Day. But I suppose, all things considered, it’s probably good. Because if everyone was a cripple on ADA Day, it would be really hard to find a cripple parking space. And if a douche bag politician like Paul Ryan showed up on crutches with one leg tied behind his back ready to march in the ADA Day parade, it would be just too creepy.




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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Brilliance and Luck



For millions of cripples like me, Stephen Hawking was an example of how even a really really crippled person can rise above all obstacles and achieve great notoriety, as long as they’re the smartest person in the whole fucking universe.

But actually, even that wasn’t enough. No one would have known or cared how smart he was if he hadn’t been lucky, too. He was lucky that he wasn’t born as crippled as he was, or else he would probably have been sent off to a place like the state-operated boarding school for cripples I attended, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT). There were lots of kids there who couldn’t walk or talk or move much, like him. Nobody took them seriously. The staff gave them the basics— dress them, feed them, hose them down, place them in the TV room during idle hours.

None of his fellow inmates would’ve taken him seriously either. In fact, we would have avoided him. I know I would have. There were no big-time cripples like him in my clique, just like there were no cripples like me in the clique of the crippled jocks. In gym class, no one would have chosen him for their team. But eventually the staff would have compelled us to include him in our games. So I guess if the game was wheelchair soccer or hockey, we would’ve parked him in front of a net, called him a goalie and hoped for the best.

The teachers wouldn’t have taken him seriously either. He probably would’ve spent the day in a time-killing classroom learning about colors. No one ever would’ve ever suspected that a kid like him could be pondering the cosmos.

The doctors wouldn’t have taken him seriously either. They would’ve all said he’s going to die any minute now. Oh wait, the doctors said that about him anyway. Never mind.

And the social workers also wouldn’t have taken him seriously. Once he reached age 21 and could no longer stay at SHIT, they would have sent to a nursing home, where he would be fed and dressed and hosed down and placed in the TV room during idle hours.

But Stephen Hawking was a lucky man. By the time he became crippled, everybody already knew how fucking brilliant he was. So he could not be denied. Everyone had no choice but to take him seriously, whether they liked it or not.

Lucky for all of us it worked out that way. But too bad for those cripples who went to SHIT who weren’t the smartest person in the whole fucking universe. Or maybe they were. Who knows?


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Monday, March 12, 2018

If I Only had a Son

There are times when I really regret that I never had a son. I feel it most we I see one of those videos all over the internet where a high school football team lets a local crippled teenager score a touchdown.

You know how it goes. The kid usually has Down syndrome or autism or something like that. He’s the mascot or the water boy or something. And at the end of the game they give the kid the ball and the other team agrees not to tackle him and he runs for a touchdown while all the players on both teams escort him like a convoy of bodyguards. I’ve even seen it where the kid is in a motorized wheelchair. And the crippled kid is usually the brother or neighbor or whatever of a player and after the game that player says that’s what inspired him to arrange all this. He says he did it to bring the crippled kid joy and to make the important statement that cripples can do anything if they have enough determination, just like everybody else.

And whenever I see that I wish that just once just one player had the balls to treat that kid like a regular human being and tackle his ass. And that’s when I really wish I had a son. And I wish my son was a player on that field. Because I know no son of mine would ever patronize a crippled kid like that by letting him score a touchdown. I’d raise him better than that. He’d have enough respect for that kid to flatten him, even if he was on the same team. Or if the kid was in a motorized wheelchair, my son would sneak up behind him while he's barreling toward the end zone and flip the lever that disconnects the motors. Being my son, he’d know where that lever is.

And after the game, my son would say that his father is crippled and that’s what inspired him to tackle the kid or disconnect his motors. He’d say he did it to bring me joy and to make the important statement that not even a super determined cripple can do everything, just like everybody else.

I’d be so proud of him.



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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Can Smart Ass Cripple be Rehabilitated?

Pretty much every cripple sooner or later deals with the Department of Rehabilitation. I know I have. But I wonder if I can be rehabilitated. Because in order to qualify to do business with the Department of Rehabilitation, must one necessarily have achieved a state of habilitation at some previous point in their life? Because it seems to me that to rehabilitate someone is to return them to habilitation. And if that’s the case, it makes me wonder if there was ever a point in my life when I was habilitated. And what event unhabilitated me so that I need rehabilitation?

So I looked up the various definitions of habilitate. One thing it means is to clothe or dress. Well if that’s the case, then yes, I am and have often been habilitated. In fact, I spend most of every day habilitated. The only time I’m not habilitated in that sense is when I bathe, sleep, take a dump and write my Smart Ass Cripple stuff. But I don’t think that’s the definition the Department of Rehabilitation applies.

Another definition is to fit or equip a mine for operation. Well, seeing as I’m not a mine, that probably doesn’t apply either.

But another definition is to make fit. Hmmm. So then rehabilitation would be to make fit again. So then the question is, was I ever fit in the first place? I think the premise that the Department of Rehabilitation must operate under is that all humans are fit until they become crippled, which then renders them unfit and in need of refitting. But in my case, the event that rendered me crippled was being born. So maybe the last time I was fit was in the womb. But maybe not even then. Because my crippledness is a genetic condition, which took effect the moment my mother’s egg was raped by my father’s sperm. So maybe I’ve been unfit since conception.

Don’t get me wrong. The Department of Rehabilitation has done right by me, in general. They paid for my college education. They pay the wages of the members of my pit crew who get me dressed every morning. So maybe I should go back to that first definition. Maybe when one of the guys puts clothes on me, he is returning me to my previous state of habilitation.

So maybe I can be rehabilitated after all.


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Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Face of the Facially Disfigured

Mom was excited when she came home one day from her job with the federal government. She said a new janitor came in today to empty the office trash cans at the end of the day.

She recognized his face. She recognized it because it was scarred and smeared. She knew he just had to be the kid who attended that segregated elementary school for cripples with me in the 1960s. His name was Kareem Abdul Jabbar (smart ass cripple alias).

Legend had it that when Kareem Abdul Jabbar was a tiny kid, he was sitting in a car as some dumbass adult was smoking a cigarette while pumping gas. A fire broke out and the rest is history.

That was the only reason he was banished to the cripple school- because he has a disfigured face. There was nothing else crippled about him.

My mother said Kareem Abdul Jabbar was a very nice guy, very soft-spoken and mild-mannered. Mom said she felt happy for him that in spite of it all, he had the gumption to land on his feet.

But I wondered if Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s aspiration was to be a janitor on the night shift. Maybe so. But if not, I don’t know if he had much choice. Suppose he showed up at my mom’s office as an executive. A lot of people might’ve been uneasy with that. It’s one thing when a guy with a disfigured face takes out your trash. It’s quite another when you have to take orders from him. And if he was an executive, somebody would have inevitability grumbled about affirmative action. “He only got the job instead of me because of his face! Quotas! Reverse discrimination!” But nobody bitches about affirmative action when you’re a janitor.

And did Kareem Abdul Jabbar also aspire to be soft-spoken and mild-mannered? Again, I don’t know if he had much choice. Suppose he had a bent for flamboyance. Suppose he wore Hawaiian shirts that drew attention to him. Suppose he was opinionated. That would’ve been way too much for some people.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar was the face of the facially disfigured. He was their ambassador, if you will. And with that came tremendous responsibility. Don’t push it. Don’t overstep the unspoken bounds. Don’t blow it or they might not ever give another facially disfigured person a job. Mind your business. Do your job, efficiently and quietly.



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Friday, February 16, 2018

Before I was Invested


Ah yes, I remember back in the days before cripples like me were invested. What heady times those were! Like back in the 1970s, when I was still living in my mother’s house and there was no such thing as cripple-accessible public transportation, at least not in these parts. At one point there were big headlines about how the bus drivers and other public transit workers were threatening to go on strike. Everybody was all panicky, but I just sat back and laughed. Let ‘em strike ‘til they’re blue in the face, I gloated to myself. I’ll still get around just fine, thank you very much. I’ll still have my cripple van and my mother to drive it so screw all you all pathetic, interdependent suckers! Who’s the one getting left behind now? Ha!

But now I’m invested. The outside world isn’t the outside world anymore. I no longer live with mom and all the buses are accessible. So now a strike by transit workers would make me panicky as well because what if I want to go somewhere? Or what about the people who come get me in and out of bed? I call them my pit crew. If public transportation is shut down, how are they going to get to me? I’ll shrivel up and die!

Sometimes when I look out of the window and I feel dread because the weather is brutal as hell, like there’s an apocalyptic blizzard and it 900 below zero, I wonder how I’d feel if I was sealed away in some climate –controlled nursing home where it’s always 72 degrees, just like on Leave it to Beaver. I think it would be de ja vu. As I looked out of the window at those bundled-up losers, the exhilarating smugness would return at last! Don’t you frost-bitten sheep wish you could be like me, with nowhere to go, no one to see, nothing to do 24/7 except watch Columbo (where it’s always 72 degrees)? This is like Club Med!

But I’m invested. I’m not sealed away it a climate-controlled nursing home. So when I look out the window and the weather is brutal as hell, I get panicky because what if I want to go somewhere? Or what about the people who come get me in and out of bed? If there’s an apocalyptic blizzard and it’s 900 below zero, how are they going to get to me? I’ll shrivel up and die!

I am no longer sovereign and strong, immune from that which befuddles the masses. I’m invested.



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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Ambush of the Cripple Paparazzi

The anchorman said to stay tuned for a story about a special young man who received a big surprise today when he met his favorite football player.

And when I heard that, I said to myself, “Oh shit! Cripple paparazzi ambush!”

The kid looked to be about age 12 or so. He didn’t look crippled but the reporter said he was dealing with some kind of quirky malady. There the kid was, going to the children’s hospital for what he thought was a medical appointment. But when he got there the place was crawling with reporters and TV cameras. And when the poor kid realized what was going on, he stood there with a twisted grin on his face like he walked into a surprise party with his fly wide open or like he got caught picking his nose on the jumbotron.

And I knew exactly how he felt. Most every crippled kid gets ambushed like this at some point. I still have nightmares about it-- business execs standing beside me holding a gigantic cardboard check while we all smile for the flashing cameras. I’m grinning that same grin.

And then someone asked the kid who his favorite football player was. And the kid said who his favorite football player was. And then someone asked if he’d like to meet his favorite football player. And the kid shrugged and said sure. And as the kid and his family were escorted to a bus, he was followed by a parade of reporters like he was some sort of Kardashian or something.

And the bus took everybody to the football stadium, where the kid met his favorite football player. And the football player gave the kid a jersey. And the afternoon surprise played out exactly according to plan, just in time for the evening news.

But I knew what that kid was thinking when I first saw that grin. He was thinking, “Oh my God! Where’s the nearest fire escape?” But then he felt the pressure. He saw the faces of the reporters and their crews, so full of hope and expectation. He couldn’t let them down, not to mention all their viewers. He couldn’t send them home without a story. So he marched ahead.

And when someone asked him if he wanted to meet his favorite football player, I knew what he was thinking then, too. He was thinking, “What if I say no?” The temptation to do so and thus pull the plug everything was probably delicious. But again he felt the pressure. A lot of people were counting on him to see this through, including his favorite football player. If he didn’t react according to plan, he’d ruin it for everybody. To not consent would be like leaving them with blue balls.

So he marched ahead.



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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Manhood


I spent five of my adolescent years as an inmate at a state-operated boarding school for cripples, which I affectionately refer to as the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (SHIT). But there’s one day I fondly recall. It was the day I took a massive dump.

It was so massive, in fact, that it clogged one of the three toilets in the community shit room and it overflowed. They had to call in a plumber. The whole area was closed down like a crime scene.

I felt quite proud of myself. I wanted to immediately claim responsibility for this legendary dump because I thought doing so might make me cool. I might achieve a level of respect that I never experienced before. But a lot of adults were pissed off about the flooded toilet, like the janitor and the houseparents, which was the job title of the people who wiped our butts. So I just laid low and stayed anonymous, though it pained me greatly to keep quiet.

To me, this particular dump felt like a landmark accomplishment, a rite of passage. I wanted to brag about it because it made me feel like a man. And crippled boys didn’t get to feel that way very often, especially back in those days.

My mother always said one good way to measure a man was by his handshake. A strong, firm handshake makes a good first impression. It’s an indicator of a study, confident man. Well, that leaves me out, I said to myself. Shaking my crippled hand was like squeezing a dead bird.

Another way to measure a man was by the type of car he drove, according to a lot of what I saw in the movies and on television. If a man drove a slick sports car like a Corvette or a secret-agent car like an Aston-Martin or an expensive car like a Cadillac, women thought he was sexy. But the only car I would ever own would be a cripple van. There’s nothing sexy about a cripple van, I thought. And I would probably never drive my cripple van. I would always be a passenger. There’s nothing sexy about being a passenger either, unless he’s a rich guy with his own chauffeur.

You could measure a man by his athletic prowess, too, or by a whole bunch of other ways that rendered crippled boys screwed. So that’s probably why that dump was so special to me. Maybe I’d never measure up in all those other ways, but I could take a manly dump. Would women find that sexy? Sadly, I’d never find out.



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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sure Thing Cripples on Television

Back in college, my roommates and I entertained ourselves by getting stoned and watching Bowling for Dollars on TV. (Yes, we didn’t have girlfriends.)

Bowling for Dollars was broadcast from a bowling alley in St. Louis. The host was a game show host wannabe. He had all the qualifications—the immaculate coiffure, the gleaming smile, the demeanor of a glad-handing car salesman.

The contestants were local Joes and Janes. Bowl a strike and win $50. Etc.

There once was a crippled contestant. She walked with two metal crutches. She said she had cerebral palsy and was a member of the Handicapped Bowling League. The host told her she was courageous and inspirational and all that stuff. Then came her turn to bowl. She dropped one crutch and picked up a bowling ball.

My roommates and I knew exactly what was coming next. It was a sure thing. You could bet the house on it.

“Gutter balls!” we said.

The crippled girl flung the ball, flat-footed. Gutter ball left. Gutter ball right. But the audience applauded anyway. The host hugged her and said she was still courageous and inspirational and all that stuff. That was a sure thing, too.

And then recently I’m watching a segment from a British TV show that was spreading like a wildfire on the internet. It's one of those singing competitions and there was a contestant who had no hands. The host told him he was courageous and inspirational and all that stuff. The cripple sang the song Imagine and he nailed it. He held the mic with his two stubs and crooned like Crosby. The audience applauded wildly. Many were in tears.

And then the celebrity judges each had to decide whether this cripple would advance to the next round. I knew exactly what was coming next. It was a sure thing. I could bet the house on it.

Each judge said absolutely, positively, unequivocally yes! No shit! What celebrity would risk ruining their career by shooting down a no-handed singer who had triumphed against all odds?

But I was disappointed. I wish the crippled contestant hadn’t let the judges and audience off the hook so easy. Instead of singing so pretty, I wish he had wailed like a moose getting an enema. I bet the judges all would’ve given him thumbs up anyway, just because they felt sorry for him for not having hands and all. It would’ve been fascinating to see how many rounds this cripple would have advanced before some judge would have the balls to put a stop to it or the audience started throwing tomatoes.

I’d tune in every week to see that.



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Friday, January 12, 2018

MD + CP = CD

There was this U.S. Supreme Court case in 1927 called Buck versus Bell. It challenged a Virginia law that required the involuntary sterilization of certain cripples so they wouldn’t produce more grotesque versions of their twisted selves.

The esteemed Justices decided 8-1 that not only was it okay to sterilize cripples, it was a jolly good idea. Writing for the majority, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote, “We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind…Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Nowadays it’s pretty much impossible to find a cripple, or anybody else for that matter, who doesn’t think this ruling is Grade A bullshit. But I’m not so sure anymore. I look around me and I see so much of human society going to shit that I can’t help but wonder if it’s the result of horny cripples inbreeding.

Because among the many subspecies of cripples are the muscular dystrophies (MDs) and the cerebral palsies. (CPs) If you have muscular dystrophy, your muscles gradually atrophy. If you have cerebral palsy, a certain part of your brain is fucked up and that might make you walk and/or talk funny, if you can walk and/or talk at all.

So maybe after many decades of MDs and CPs fucking each other and mixing their polluted humors they have created a monstrous hybrid condition called cerebral dystrophy (CD)—which would be a gradual atrophying of the brain. The effects of CD could be devastating. For instance, if an arrogant rich fuck runs for president and tells all the broke-ass unemployed people that he is their best friend and savior, someone with CD might actually believe it and vote for him. And when that rich fuck becomes president and gets together with other rich fucks to steal all the money for themselves and their rich fuck pals, someone with CD might actually be surprised that happened.

This is the most logical explanation I can come up with for what has been going on.

I fear that I may have unwittingly contributed to this demise. I have muscular dystrophy and the odds are good that at some drunken cripple orgy somewhere along the line I fucked somebody with cerebral palsy. If so, I sincerely, profusely and profoundly apologize to everyone. If I only knew then what I know now.





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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Real Kick in the Balls



It’s a real kick in the balls when you feel like you’re being penalized for being different. (You don’t have to have balls to feel it.) Needless to say, cripples feel this way all the time. And I bet amputees are the subspecies of cripple that feel it most often. If a person with one leg goes to buy shoes, they are forced to buy a second shoe they will never need. The same goes for one-armed people buying gloves.

I mean what the fuck, eh? Shouldn’t amputees get shoe and or glove discounts? Or how about a tax break? Blind people get tax breaks just for being blind so why not?

As far as I know, the glorious free market has not responded to this injustice with a chain of specialty boutiques that sell shoes and gloves by the each. Historically, when the glorious free market doesn't give a shit about the piddly little troubles of certain groups of people, those people often take matters into their own hands. So probably some enterprising amputees have formed shopping clubs where, for instance, a guy missing his left arm goes shopping with a guy missing his right arm and they go halvsies on a pair of gloves.

At least people missing one leg get a chance to feel superior when they buy socks. Since you can wear a sock on either foot, a pair of socks lasts them twice as long. I bet the smuggest amputees of all are the ones who are missing all four limbs. They don’t have to be bothered with shopping for gloves or shoes at all. They can spend their time, money and energy on more important pursuits. They scoff at us sad little losers with the proper allotment of limbs who are slaves to our hands and feet. I bet quadruple amputees are insufferable to be around. That’s why they have no friends, except each other.

There’s a guy rolling around my neighborhood in a raggedy wheelchair and I call him the asymmetrical beggar. I call him that because he’s missing an arm and a leg on opposite sides and he panhandles. His life must really suck. Even if he joined the amputee shopping club, he’d have to hook up with someone missing a leg on one side to split a pair of shoes and then someone else missing an arm on the other side for gloves. Or he'd have to find an amputee who's his asymmetrical mirror image. What a pain in the ass!

One day the window of the 7-11 downstairs was boarded up. The guy with the patchy beard who panhandles outside 7-11 told me the asymmetrical beggar smashed the window in a fit of anger. “He dranks that gin and it makes him crazy,” the guy with the patchy beard said. “And he crazy anyway.”

I think the asymmetrical beggar just snapped. He was probably fed up with being kicked in the balls.




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